Enjoying the hustle and bustle of Beijing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2008, 12:00am

The increase in demand for executive recruitment services in Beijing spurred a move north for headhunter Kong To.

'The CEO of the company I was working for in Hong Kong called to invite me and I didn't have to think twice, they are hiring like crazy up here and I've never looked back,' said the 36-year-old.

Mr Kong was invited in 2003 to join a reputable firm in the capital where he led business development activities and executed senior level searches with assignments for clients in the oil and gas, professional services, metals, mining, advertising and media, telecoms, automotive and government trade sectors.

'The job is to consult and advise clients on sound market conditions, talent sourcing strategies and retention techniques, and provide them with the highest calibre of suitable candidates,' Mr Kong said.

He earned a reputation for delivering value to his clients, and praise for his professionalism and sound career counselling advice. His expertise now extends beyond the mainland to executing senior management searches across Asia-Pacific.

He was born in Britain to a family who had a restaurant businesses, but wanted to move away from that field so he completed a Higher National Diploma in aeronautical engineering, then a bachelor of science in engineering and manufacturing management. But his first line of work was in marketing for several multinational companies.

His executive search career began in 1998 when he was hired from Britain to join leading international executive search firm Boyden in its Hong Kong office. He was subsequently promoted to country manager responsible for running key accounts for Fortune 500 firms, and hi-tech and e-commerce start-ups during the tech boom, with a strong focus on marketing, business development and business leadership positions.

Now the vice-president and general manager of Boyden's Beijing office, Mr Kong, who is married and expecting his first child next month, is enjoying life in Beijing and intends to remain there for at least three more years. 'It's exciting to be in a developing city with so much going on in infrastructure. You can have the same lifestyle as in Hong Kong, but here there is more space and it is cheaper. We've settled now and most of the friends we have made are also married. People grow up here.'